One of the more common questions that get asked after you have been in a car accident is ‘how long will it take for the insurance company to pay my claim’? There is no firm answer to this, it can take anywhere from a couple of days to years before your claim is paid. A simple straightforward claim is pretty rare and there is a lot more to dealing with processing your claim than you think. Let’s look at what can affect when your claim is finally paid.
Holding Up Your Claim
If your car accident attorney is giving you a vague answer as to when your claim will be settled it is because he genuinely doesn’t know. He may give you a ball park figure but nothing is set in stone. There are a couple of things that can slow down your claim such as whether any party in the accident has claimed liability. In other words, who was responsible for the accident? If that is in doubt that can hold up your claim.
Damage to Your Car
This is probably the most straightforward part of filing your claim. Once you have been in an accident then your car gets taken to your mechanic or local body shop where the damage will be assessed. An insurance adjuster will either come and look at your car or they will talk to the mechanic and get a report on the damage. From there they will decide if your car is worth repairing or not. If you have no injuries and there was only damage to your car then the insurance can pay out the claim fairly quickly.
If you have medical injuries then that is what will hold up your claim. First your doctor will have to determine the extent of your injuries and how long it will take you to recover. Spinal cord injuries, head injuries and soft tissue damage like whiplash can be difficult to diagnose and the recovery can be long. Added to that is the amount of time that you will be off work. It can be difficult to determine your level of compensation you need to deal with the accident and the after effects. Oftentimes the insurance company will disagree with your doctor’s assessment of your injuries and want a physician of their own to examine you. When it comes to medical injuries you absolutely want to have an auto accident attorney representing you so you don’t get shortchanged. Insurance companies may offer lump sum payments but that may not be adequate enough to deal with an injury that leaves you disabled and unable to work.
Going to Court
If you end up having to take your insurance company to court to get your settlement paid that can take years. When your attorney won’t give you a timeframe on when you can expect a payout it is genuinely because they aren’t sure. Insurance cases can be complicated.